The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has extended the NTO (New Tariff Order) 2.0 implementation date for the broadcasters. Earlier, the regulatory body had directed all the broadcasters to implement the NTO 2.0 by June 1, 2022. But, in a new directive, TRAI has extended the last date for implementation of the new tariff order 2.0 to November 30, 2022.
In addition to this, TRAI has asked all the DPOs (Distribution Platform Operators) to report to the authority, DRP (Distributor Retail Price) of the pay channels and the bouquets of pay channels along with the composition of bouquets of pay and FTA (Free-to-Air) channels as per the new regulatory framework 2020 by September 30, 2022.
Why Has TRAI Pushed the NTO 2.0 Implementation Date Ahead
The regulatory body, in a release, said that it learnt from DPOs, the association of Local Cable Operators (LCOs) and consumer organisations about the difficulties that they will face while implementing the NTO 2.0.
For the unaware, TRAI released a consultation paper on May 7, 2022, on “Issues Related to New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting and Cable Services”. This consultation paper was rolled out with the purpose of understanding the issues that would arrive with the implementation of the New Regulatory Framework 2020.
The NTO 2.0 has faced a lot of scrutiny by the media and broadcasting industry as it could potentially push consumers into OTT (over-the-top) content consumption. With the NTO 2.0, the broadcasters would start pricing their driver channels/popular channels higher and offer them on an al-a-carte basis. Thus, at the end of the day, consumers will have to pay NCF (Network Capacity Fee), bouquet fee, and then fee for al-a-carte channels.
This would shoot the bill amount up for the consumers which would then make OTT seem like a better option. This is not a good thing for the broadcasters. Even if they are able to charge more, they will lose business in the medium-to-long term.
Since OTT users are already growing in the country, the NTO 2.0 would be detrimental to the business of the Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators and cable TV operators. It will be interesting to see whether TRAI, under a new chief, PD Vaghela, can stop the implementation of NTO 2.0 or bring another solution for it.